Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. I’m a lurker by nature and tend not to comment on things I know next to nothing about, and that certainly applies here. But I have been hovering around the forum and have found quite a few helpful posts and threads that have aided me in this new interest. I now own five pipes: a bent MM Legend, a straight MM Country Gentleman, A straight MM hardwood, a briar basket pipe (which I think is a bent billiard, but I’m not sure), and a Grabow Omega. All my MM’s smoke wonderfully, especially the cobs. The basket pipe gurgles like a sedated mental patient, though. I’ve been trying a few thing with it, smoking slower and drying the toby a bit more before I pack it. Still gurgles though. I’m using it anyway to keep up rotation. I just got the Omega on Saturday, and I really like the bit on it. I’m still breaking it in, but I sure do like the look of the pipe. There are a few Grabows that I’m thinking of getting. I think that these and the cobs are going to be my main smokers, as I’m about a thousand years away from having the cabbage to buy a Peterson or the like. I know Grabows are a bargain pipe, but at this early stage in my hobby, I cannot justify spending more than $25-30 on a pipe. My tobacco selections have been growing. I got some Captain Black White and Half & Half. Both smoke well enough for me and I can see these two being my regular selections for a while. I’ve tried a few blends from the local tobacconists, but I don’t yet have the palate to make any meaningful distinctions in flavor. There are subtle differences, yes, but I’m liking the cheaper, drug-store stuff fine for now. Half & Half in my Country Gentleman is sublime. I know there are many that think it should be graded as a chemical weapon, but the stuff is doing its thing for me so I’m sticking to it. I figure by the time I’m able to afford the higher-end tobies, I’ll have gone through a mess of the cheap stuff and I’ll appreciate the flavors of the more expensive blends all the more. Or, I’ll stick to the cheap stuff. A friend of mine also loaned me a mess of toby from Boswell's. Good stuff. The "Christmas Cookie" is easily my favorite. I can see that stuff going into regular rotation. I'll put them on the list for future purchases. My advice to other noobs is thus: keep it cheap at first. Get your technique down and don’t get sucked into things you’ll regret. It’s not a race to get as much stuff as the folks around here that have collections and tobacco cellars that look like a tobacconist’s stock room. You’ll get there eventually if the fates decree. If you have the ducats to start off with some Dunhills and 40 tins of high-grade leaf, then shine on, you crazy diamond. But it’s not really necessary. Do your research and don’t be afraid to try new things. Even things that some others think are a waste of money. Like Grabows and Half & Half . I’m having a blast starting out, and I’d like to thank this forum for their knowledge and for just being a really cool place to hang out.